Vote for Brookgreen Gardens in USA Today’s Holidays contest

12 Nov

Vote for Brookgreen Gardens in USA Today’s Holidays contest

Many visitors and residents of South Carolina’s Hammock Coast know the spectacular display of holiday splendor that is Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens.

Now, for the second year in a row, this event, which draws people from near and far, has been nominated for the USA Today Best of the Holidays contest in the Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights category. It was first nominated in 2019 and placed 4th overall.

“Brookgreen Gardens is honored to be included in the list of Top 10 Botanical Garden Holiday Lights by USA Today,” said Page Kiniry, Brookgreen’s president and CEO. “We are grateful to all of our members and fans who vote for us every day for the duration of the contest. It’s a testament to the hard work of our staff and volunteers who make this event unique and a celebration of the holidays for so many.”

Brookgreen Gardens, near Murrells Inlet on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast, offers a holiday light display that will dazzle the eye and spread holiday cheer. (Photo courtesy of Brookgreen Gardens)

To show support for this popular holiday event, the public can vote for Brookgreen Gardens once per day until polls close on Monday, Dec. 7, at noon ET. The 10 winning gardens will be announced on USA Today10Best on Friday, Dec. 18, in plenty of time for Christmas. To vote, just click here.

“During the winter season, a different kind of color lights up botanical gardens across the United States,” USA Today wrote in announcing this year’s nominees. “Instead of spring flowers, visitors find twinkling holiday lights, often accompanied by a range of other holiday activities and events.”

Kiniry states on the About page of the Gardens’ official website, that it is “a unique melding of art, nature, and history.”

“Since its founding in 1931, by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington, Brookgreen has been a cultural center for our community,” Kiniry wrote. “We hope residents and visitors will take pride in the fact that in their midst is one of America’s premier gardens and one of a few select places in the United States to have earned accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, as well as being designated a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”

She continued, “Every day, Brookgreen offers a selection of tours, programs, and exhibits for all ages. You may stroll through the gardens on a guided tour or explore these beautiful spaces on your own. Each season, new exhibitions and special events make Brookgreen Gardens…Ever Changing. Simply Amazing.”

The Nights of a Thousand Candles event will feature The Field of Light from the recent Bruce Munro Summer Lights exhibit as part of the display. (Photo courtesy of Brookgreen Gardens)

The Nights of a Thousand Candles event, which will feature The Field of Light from the recent Bruce Munro Summer Lights exhibit as part of the display, will be held from Nov. 27 to Dec. 31 from 4-9 p.m. Admission for non-members is $25 for adults and $15 for children. Admission for members is $20 for adults and $12 for children. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

The event also features The Strolling Bagpipers, roaming the gardens every evening. There will be live musical entertainment each evening, including the Beach Brass Quintet, Painted Man, the Paul Grimshaw Band, harpist Rebecca Nissen, the Randy McQuade Band, the Palmetto Bronze Handbell Ensemble, Raglan Road, and The 100 Grand Band.

Brookgreen Gardens is known as the floral jewel of South Carolina’s Hammock Coast. Located in Murrells Inlet, the 9,127-acre property preserves the natural and cultivated landscape of this historic site. The botanical gardens, which are lit up for the event, feature the Live Oak Allée, comprised of 250-year-old Live Oak trees that were planted in the early 1700s when today’s Brookgreen Gardens was four thriving rice plantations.

Also, the four wings of the butterfly garden, which is shaped like a butterfly, offer many horticultural surprises and delights as you move deeper into the Huntington Sculpture Garden. The most notable are the Dorothy P. Peace Garden Room for Children located in the lower right wing and the Kitchen Garden found in the lower left wing. The Brenda W. Rosen Carolina Terrace Garden has a spectacular array of perennials, roses, shrubs, and mature trees.

Three additional major gardens departed from the butterfly design with the focus on a formality not seen up to this point in the Gardens. The Palmetto Garden, named for the use of Sabal palmetto, South Carolina’s state tree, was completed in 1950. The whimsical Fountain of the Muses Garden displays the sculpture of the same name and takes bold garden design to new heights.

Competing nominations for Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights are found in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maine, Georgia, New Mexico, Illinois, Florida and Kansas.

“As wonderful as all the nominees are, those of us here along South Carolina’s Hammock Coast know just how magical Nights of a Thousand Candles truly is,” said Mark A. Stevens, director of tourism development for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce. “It’s really not Christmas here without a visit to Brookgreen Gardens. We’d love to see Brookgreen move from its fourth-place finish in 2019 to first place in 2020. It would be a great and positive way to end this topsy-turvy year.”

For more information about Brookgreen Gardens, visit, or call 843-235-6000. For information about the event, click here.

By Clayton Stairs/tourism manager for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce

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